The occipital vein is one of the veins in the human head. It is part of the central nervous system. It supplies regions of the occipital head.
The occipital vein is a so-called occipital vein. With its various branches, it supplies areas of the cortex and the underlying medullary bed in the back of the head. A distinction must be made between superficial and deep veins in the blood supply in the human brain.
The superficial cranial nerves drain the blood in the cerebrum within an approx. 1-2 cm outer area. The deep cranial nerves supply the brain down to the middle structures. The occipital vein is one of the superficial cranial nerves. It conducts the blood in the area of the occiput from the surface of the brain into the first layers of the cortex. The occipital vein is divided into two veins.
The superior occipital veins and inferior occipital veins. The venae occipitalis superiores is located with its branches in the area of the upper back of the head. The inferior occipital vein supplies the brain in the lower occiput with venous blood. All venae are branches of the great sulci of the cerebrum. They collect the blood from the cerebral cortex and the underlying medullary bed. From there, they run as so-called bridge veins into the cerebrum.
Superficial veins drain blood from the outer cortex. They are divided into two types of veins. The occipital vein is assigned to them. It is to be divided into the Venae occipitalis superioes and Venae occipitalis inferiores.
All branches of the occipital vein drain the blood from the outer approx. 1-2 cm of the cerebrum. The superior cerebral veins have approximately 8-12 per hemisphere. They drain the blood from the frontal and parietal lobes along large sulci of the endbrain. From there it flows directly into the superior sagittal sinus.
Several veins branch off from the superior sagittal sinus and supply the upper area of the cerebrum. From anterior to posterior, along the superior sagittal sinus, they include the prefrontal vein, the frontal vein, the central vein, the parietal vein, and the superior occipital vein. These are on the back of the head. The path continues to the lower back of the head. The superior sagittal sinus becomes the transverse sinus. The venea occipitales inferiores and the venae temporales originate from it.
There is venous blood in the occipital vein. Even if this is particularly low in oxygen, the blood supplies the surrounding tissue with oxygen. It also plays an important role in the removal of CO2 nutrients. Minerals or hormones are transported to their destination via the blood.
The bloodstream of the human organism regulates the heat throughout the body through the blood. As part of the system, the occipital vein also takes on these tasks. The veins have a thinner outer wall than arteries. That is why they are often used by doctors in various procedures to obtain blood for control purposes or to be able to supply the body with various active substances in sufficient quantities. Since the venea occipitales is located below the skullcap, it is used for this purpose during surgical interventions. The active ingredients are passed on to their destination via the bloodstream in a matter of seconds or minutes. The different branches of the different veins contribute to the fact that this can often be done in different ways.
The occipital vein is part of the blood supply to the back of the head. This is known as the occipital region. This is where the occipital lobe is located. It is the smallest of the four existing lobes and processes visual perception. The occipital lobe is also known as the visual center of the brain. It processes all stimuli that are received by the eye. Colors, brightness and other visual impulses, such as mechanical stimuli, flow to the back of the human brain. In order for the visual processing to take place in the occipital lobe, it must be supplied with various nerve fibers and venous blood.
Superficial veins such as the occipital vein are located in the so-called subarachnoid space. This means that these veins can be injured even with mild head trauma. This can be triggered by accidents, falls or, for example, blows to the back of the head. This usually leads to extensive bleeding into the subdural gap.
Medical professionals speak of subdural bleeding in such a case. If this bleeding does not stop spontaneously, the bleeding can result in so-called masses in the subdural space. This compresses the brain and impairs individual functions in their execution. This often leads to headaches or a sensation of pressure inside the skull. In addition, neurological deficits can be expected in severe cases. They include migraines or high blood pressure. If the bleeding persists, it can lead to strokes, brain infections or epilepsy.
The difficulty often lies in the fact that the temporal relationship between the triggering event and a physical reaction is sometimes very large. It is often several weeks after the actual injury. Under normal circumstances, the blood pressure in the affected vessels is very low. In the event of an injury, the blood only exits the occipital vein slowly. The spread of a persistent hemorrhage is therefore a slow, continuous process. The effect of a triggering event is therefore often underestimated and recognized too late.